Speaking on Sexual Misconduct Resources

Speaking on Sexual Misconduct Resources

 

IMG_2225
Noelle Rutland worked as the Project Manager for  Facing Sexual Violence in Rockbridge County.
IMG_2097
Jan Kauffman of the Office of Health Promotion shows posters from this year’s Speak Week.

 

 

W&L Brings in the Bystander

Washington and Lee University plans to pilot a Bringing in the Bystander booster program for sophomores this April, Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

“We are going to try it out going into fraternities and sororities and sophomore housing, like the theme houses, and talk to people in their own space, giving them a chance to talk to us and break into small group discussions,” Alice Moore, President of Speak said.

The booster will hopefully launch in the fall and be an addition to the training that takes place during Orientation week for First Year Students. Speak members also help run the trainings for the first year in consultation with the University’s counseling and health programs.

“It looks at particular situations here at W&L that students have told us about. It utilizes a combination of staff facilitators, student facilitators that Dr. Bowler and I trained,” Jan Kaufman of the Office of Health Promotion said.

Research has shown that the first year of college, specifically the first six weeks can be the highest risk for sexual misconduct and this is why Kaufman and the University believe in training from the very beginning.

“From day one as an institution we are saying to students we take this seriously and we feel that we are a community,” Kaufman said. “And as a community member, everyone has a role to play, and we want students to know that if they see situations that don’t feel right, are troubling that we as a institution expect them to check in with someone.”

With 1 in 5 women experiencing some type of sexual assault before they leave college, it is important to know the resources available on Washington and Lee University’s campus.

The main contact to file a report of sexual misconduct is Lauren Kozack, the Title IX Officer.

“I help provide remedies for someone through remedies-based resolution, if we are not going through a disciplinary process. So I can enact different supportive and protective measures,” Kozack said.

Some of these remedies include changing a students housing, class schedule, work schedule, or filing protective orders.

The Health Center and Project Horizon also work together to provide survivors of sexual misconduct with the support they need. The University has a counselor on call 24/7. All of these resources are available through the new Live Safe App. The app also allows you to virtually walk home friends and make reports to Public Safety and the police.

To provide support to survivors and awareness, Noelle Rutland worked with Project Horizon, The Shepherd Program and the Bonner Program to complete the “Facing Sexual Violence in Rockbridge County” project.

Rutland was the project manager for the “story telling initiative” that interviewed individuals from the local universities and the community at large who experienced sexual violence.

“I think people see Washington and Lee a lot of time as this really idealistic place where this sort of thing doesn’t occur and I really wanted to highlight that this issue is occurring in the lives of people you would never expect, and so it was important to me to give voice to survivors or at least empower them to use their own voices to tell the story of what had happened to them in whatever way they were most comfortable with,” Rutland said.

Volunteers were paired to write the survivors stories, which were published as a book last Spring Term. Rutland plans to do another printing of the book in the near future.

In addition to providing bystander training, Speak serves to support survivors. Each year, they host Rock against Rape, which is a concert to support Project Horizon, and Speak Week, which centers on Take Back the Night.

“It’s a chance for survivors of sexual assault, or other sexual misconduct, to come out in like a safe and nonjudgmental environment to share their stories. I think it’s really good both for them, like I’ve shared a story this year and last year, and I think that it’s really empowering to like be able to be honest about what your story is, and you know where you come from and feel supported by the community,” Moore said. “But then I also think it is helpful for people in the audience to see their friends, their classmates and see that they’ve actually experienced some of the things they are fighting to prevent.”

In addition to Speak, another organization has been founded this year to promote a positive sexual culture and prevent sexual assault.

Advocates for an Alternative Atmosphere (AAA) has started with eleven students trained to make “small tweaks to the environment that make it a safer place to be,” Kaufman said.

They have begun trainings with First Year students to address reading signals and the myths of miscommunication. They also are creating spaces in dorm lounges and at parties that allow for conversation that are not bed rooms.

“When people have a separate space signals are more clear and that can reduce sexual assault,” AAA member Catherine Ahmad said.

Sexual misconduct on college campuses has become a national concern, and the University is working to add and improve resources to reduce cases.

“I found that the administration honestly truly does care about this issue and wants to make a difference. So I do think we have a long way to go, but the right people are in charge right now to make it happen,” Rutland said.

 

Take a look at the Live Safe App:

@WLUHEALTH ON TWITTER: Storify

Vice President Biden on Sexual Assault on College Campuses

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 4.55.05 PM

More Sexual Misconduct Resources:

Washington and Lee Sexual Misconduct Resources

Project Horizon

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

 

Sources:

 

 

 

 

W&L Students Vote

Julie 1
Julie Malone is a registered Republican who plans to vote for Hillary Clinton in the General Election because her first choice candidate, Jeb Bush, dropped out of the race.                         Photo by Ashley Faulkner 

Washington and Lee University students immersed themselves in the university’s 26th Annual Mock Convention and are now preparing for the Presidential Election. With Primaries happening across the country, many students are experiencing their first opportunity to vote.

As the Southern Regional Chair for the Mock Convention, Caroline Bones started researching political trends very early into her time at W&L. She was able to take this knowledge and her experience as the College Republican’s secretary with her to the polls.

As a resident of Virginia, she was able to vote for her candidate of choice, Marco Rubio, without having to go through some of the extra steps that out-of-state students may have to deal with if they choose to vote. However, she doesn’t think that would have dissuaded her from voting

“I definitely would have voted. But again I am a huge politics nerd, so that’s my thing. Its like my Super Bowl,” Bones said.

 

Each state has different requirements for absentee voting, which was problematic for some students. Tyler Wenger hoped to vote in the Primary Election but was unable to because of Tennessee’s regulations for first time voters.

“Since I haven’t already voted in the state, they wouldn’t give me an absentee ballot because they can’t ensure that I am who I say I am.” Wenger said.

Rather than driving the three hours to register to vote, Wenger registered in Virginia to ensure he could vote in the General Election. He is a registered Republican, but thinks that choosing between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump would be like “choosing between a rock and a hard place.”

The quality of candidates and their interests in the millennial demographic is of concern to some students. Julie Malone is a registered Republican in Idaho, but plans to support Hillary Clinton in the General Election.

“I am actually refusing to vote in the Primary. I was going to vote for Jeb and he is not in the running anymore,” Malone said. “So unless Mitt Romney comes back, I am abstaining from the Primary.”

She thinks that Clinton has a better platform for issues that matter most to her, specifically regarding women’s equality. Malone even considered changing her registration to Virginia because it is a “purple” state and she thought her vote would matter more.

Registering to vote was also an issue for some students, as this was the first election that most students could vote in.

Alex Dolwick was not able to vote because he didn’t register in time.

“I have the sheets in my dorm to register but I didn’t fill it out within thirty days of the North Carolina Primary. Mostly because it was an online process that somewhat confused me,” Dolwick said.

Dolwick plans to fill the forms out soon with time to vote in the General Election. He plans to register as a Democrat and research the candidates further before November. At Mock Convention, a speaker who talked on the impact of the millennial vote inspired Dolwick on this generation’s responsibility to get involved.

In addition to just voting, students have found other ways to get involved with the political process. In addition, Mock Convention students have gotten involved on social media and with political groups on campus.

The University has College Republicans, College Democrats and College Libertarians. The groups work with local and national campaigns in different capacities.

“For the Election, we have organized weekly discussion groups to help members formulate and refine their views on major issues in the election including gun control, women’s rights and sexual assaults on college campuses,” College Democrats’ Secretary Morgan Maloney said

.011016-Millennial-Poll.V3

In addition to working on the Clinton campaign, Maloney has helped with several events on campus including voter registration drives and debate viewing parties.

While voting absentee can be difficult, many students recognize that this election will have big implications for this generation of voters and are taking the steps to make their voices heard.

Related Articles:

Sources: